Open and free

Now the Center for Democracy & Technology has a workplace suited to promoting an open Internet

The Center for Democracy & Technology champions global online civil liberties and promotes government policies to keep the Internet open, innovative, and free. It works globally across the organizational and political spectrum. But like many D.C. non-profits and organizations, it clung to an office design that was anything but open and far from collaborative.

When the CDT decided to move its D.C. offices, it saw in the redesign of its workplace an opportunity to modernize its workplace culture and foster collaboration and comradery among its staff. To this end, the CDT chose to transition from a predominately closed office to an open work environment.


Design integrity

The new 10,000 SF office is a page out of the millennial playbook. The design strips back the space revealing the original character of this historic 1929 building in the heart of Washington, D.C. In our design, the building’s handsome original steel beams were exposed, terrazzo floor refinished, and terracotta ceilings revealed.

Today, we’re looking at three primary spaces in the new space and how each serves CDT’s desire for a change in its work culture.

CDT Conference Room

CDT Conference Room

Openness in the Main Conference Room:
Located at the center of the space, the main conference room is immediately visible upon arrival. When combined with the entryway, it creates a large multi-functional space ideal for hosting meetings, lectures, and social gatherings. Designed as a space to convene, its openness epitomizes the mission of the CDT.

CDT Collaboration space

CDT Communal Space

Collaboration in The Communal Space:
This open, multi-use environment provides staff and visitors with a myriad of choices depending on their task and work style. From casual lounge seating, to stool-height touchdown space, to family-style dining, the environment is designed to change and adapt to the user’s preferences. It is suited to the mobile worker and today’s variety of work styles. It can accommodate impromptu meetings that make collaboration possible and allows for all-important casual collisions between staff members.

CDT Work Stations

CDT Work Stations

Energy in the Workspace:
In the workspace, the barriers between open workstations have been kept low and private offices have glass fronts. Overall, the architectural feel is raw. Employees are invited to express themselves on office doors which are finished with chalkboard paint. The workspace generates the energy needed to keep staff engaged and productive.

CDT Touchdown area

CDT Touchdown area

The new look and feel for CDT is sure to change the way its staff interacts with each other and its constituents. The CDT finally has the space fitting its global vision of technology for all.

Team: Pablo Quintana, Lauren Hunt, IIDA, LEED AP

Photos: Chris Spielmann

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